Monday, June 28, 2010

Travels: Cities

At the beginning of the semester I went to an English class called Literature of the City. I ended up dropping the class but during the first session of the class we had an interesting discussion about cities. The professor asked how many people grew up in cities. A few. And how many want to live in a cities. A lot.

I've said to many people I've met through my travels that I love cities. Istanbul was a city in all the ways that I love cities. It was a city of contrasts. The atmosphere of one neighborhood was very different from another neighborhood. By myself I went to the European side south of the Golden Horn. It's the old part of the city where the old historic sights and where most visitors are. I also went to neighborhoods with a distinctly European feel, historic European quarter and the modern European. 

Paris is a great European city, perhaps The greatest European city. I was in Paris a few days before going to Istanbul. But unlike Istanbul, I feel like I only saw central Paris. It felt fake to me because I saw the parts of the city mostly for tourists even though the buildings are original buildings, not reconstructions. I didn't get the feeling that real, average Parisians lived here. It was all palaces, Haussman-design apartments, and manicured gardens. Maybe Paris had become too famous that I could only see it as a series of postcard-worthy monuments.

1 comment:

sinatra please said...

i've never been to paris, but i agree.
AND i love that you referenced Haussmann